Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Buon Giorno Famiglia!
Thanks for your emails this week! Im so glad you all had a good thanksgiving! I hope you all ate enough for yourselves and me. Ill be looking forward to a good American Thanksgiving again next year:) Now on to the Christmas season. I cant even believe that christmas is almost hear! And that a year ago i was a little stress case at christmas trying to get everything ready for a mission. Time flies. Thats for sure. Im excited for Christmas here. Its not quite as big as it is in America in the sense that there arent tons of lights and stuff. Its going to be a good Christmas. I can already feel it. Sorella Miles and I bought a little, humble christmas tree and we love it! We decorated last wednesday and i just love looking at our little tree. We took some pictures and ill attach them to the email. haha. Im such a weirdo. Sorry about that....
I am going to write grandma buma a letter and an email this week but i just want you all to tell her how much i love her. I have so many great memories with all my grandparents and i truely feel blessed. I love that all day long i am teaching about the plan of salvation. Teaching people that this life is not the end. That its just a step we take on our way to eternity. We can be with our families forever! I know that. So its hard, really hard, not being with my family right now and not getting to spend the last little bit with her but i know that she is going to be my guardian angel. With her help I know our work is going to be so much better:) You are such a strong person, Grandma! Im grateful for your example of the kind of person we all need to strive to be.
As for our week is was such a great and a fast week! I realized that i havent said much about my companion. We get along soooo well. We laugh all the time but are really trying to work hard, too. Its great! She is so funny and has such a good attitude about everything. I have heard sisters tell me that when you train someone, you really know that you 2 were meant to be together. ANd i really think that both of us know that. I dont think i could have trained anyone else. She is great! We are going to have a great christmas together! We have a couple things up our sleeves... LIke the reinactment of the birth of christ that both of us do with our families every year. We arent sure how we are going to do it with just 2 people but we will figure something out. And we listen to nutcracker all the time. We have both seen it a million times and so we can do the dances for each other too:) Haha. Good times.
The in Ladispoli is hard but its going. We have found some new investigators and its great! our mission goal is to find 6 new investigators the last 4 weeks of this transfer. We have already found 2 and we have some good potentials. its just hard because every at christmas is so busy and say they have no time to meet with us. The investigator we found this week is SOLID though. He got a disease 2 years ago and lost his eye sight almost completely. I dont really get it but apparently over time it should slowly come back. Not all the way but some. He is getting to the point where he can actually read a little bit now. Perfect because he can read the BOM! He told us that he never really knew if he believed in God especially with what he went through 2 years ago. But now he is at a point that he knows he needs to search for this faith and find his relationship with god again. ANd he know that he wont find it in the Catholic of the Jehovahs witness churches. So he is willing to read the BOM and meet with us and its great!
Our baptisimal dates. First there is Cristian. I think this week we are going to have to push his date back. He just really doesnt show a desire to do anything. he came to church the past 2 sundays for like the last 30 minutes. We just dont want him to get baptized and then not ever be an active member of the church. And he just has some things he doesnt understand. We are praying for a miracle with him! That somehow, he can find this desire to do the things that bring us closer to heavenly father. I know that is what he needs in his life but we just cant force him to do anything.
Andreina is so great and i love her so much. We taught word of wisdom this week and i was a little nervous because she drinks coffee every morning. So she is reading this paragraph that explains exactly what this is and im praying sooooo hard that her heart is open to accept it. She finishes reading and talks about how she doesnt have any other issues except with coffee. We talked about how its just not good for our bodies and creates a dependence and she said, "Oh, I didnt know that. I guess i will have to find something else to drink in the morning!" LIke it was no big deal at all. She said that if heavenly father says its bad then she needs to stop drinking it. She is drinking less and less every day so its going great. The only obstacle i guess you could say she has is that she just cant trust the answers heavenly father has given her. She will come around but it just might take some time with her. I have learned one really important thing though, members are SOOOOO important. That is what is going to help andreina the most. Seeing italians that have converted and made this change in their lives. That they are people more like her. Members are crucial. Take the opportunity to help missionaries when you can! I know that this work goes so much better when missionaries and members can work together. I have heard that a million times but i really see that every day!
Ok, i have written lots today. I think that about hits the highlights. I need to tell you about Rosaria and her sisters next week. They are 16, 13 and 10 and just like our sisters. We call them "the girls". I love them! We have such great people here in Ladispoli. I have so many things to be grateful for. Im grateful for my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. I know what im doing is what i should be doing with my life right now. There are so many people who just need this in their lives! Thanks for all your support. I hope you all have a great week and know how much i love you! My family and friends are so important to me! Have a great first week of DECEMBER!!!! Crazy! Love you all!
Me with Andreina and just some of the paintings in her house
These next 2 are me being really weird by the christmas tree. We were really excited.....
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I just have to say one thing that is going to blow your minds.... Well today for our preparation day, we had thanksgiving feast as a district. So we were in charge of pumpkin pie and stuffing. Literally i was laughing so hard when they told us because me and my companion dont have much practice in cooking you could say. So anyways, they dont sell pumpkin in a can here so we bought some pumpkin, steamed it, mashed it up and made a pie. We made the crust by hand too. ALL HAND MADE!!! Plus super yummy stuffing by hand too. I felt sooooooo proud of us. We took our lunch time yesterday and cooked like mad missionaries. It was fun. WE had our christmas music on and after it looked like a bomb blew up in our kitchen. But everyone was impressed with us yesterday. I felt pretty accomplished.ù
This is random but remember our neighbor that cooked for us? Well on thursday we got home for lunch and he stopped us in the hall and threw a bowl of pasta in our hands and said, "It's all hot right now! Go up stairs and eat it right now while its hot!" Haha. So cute. Plus he cooks so well so its just amazing! Our little chef. We think he is out of town because we havent seen him in a couple days.
Ok now that i got the not so important things out of the way, i want to start with our week. Sad but really actually happy news is that Francesca passed away on Monday morning early. Her funeral was yesterday and she is now just so much happier. I saw pictures of her from 6 months ago and was SHOCKED. I couldnt even tell it was her. Anyway, the funeral was in church and it all went well. Her son was there and seemed content. I know he is sad but we all know she is so much happier. It was great hearing everyone at the funeral talk about the plan of salvation. There were a lot of non members there and i know that this plan just brings so much hope to people. I love it. I love that when we teach it, it just makes sense to people. That there isnt a glitch in it. Everything is laid out perfect. Heavenly Father wouldnt do anything less. Im so grateful for our time that we had together though. I loved singing with Francesca. Her favorite song is All creatures of our god and king and she would just sing with us as much as she could with the energy she had. We sing it all the time now. I will always think of her when i hear that song. What an example to me of someone that was in a tough spot and went through it with so much faith and hope. She loved smiling and just being happy! I could go on and on about her. ANyway, one of the blessing in my mission and my life will be the time i got to spend with her.
Other great news! WE have 2 baptisimal dates!!! December 17 for both of them. The first one is Cristian. I dont know how much i have told you about him but he has been an investigator for awhile but then went to spain for the summer and is now back. He is like 26?? He wants to be baptized but then never does anything to show his desire. Basically he never sacrifices for it. So we told him if he really wants it, we will set this date. A goal for him to really work towards. I think he struggles with depression big time. He never does anything and just always seems so sad. I know that him putting the gospel at a priority in his life would help so much. But we cant force him to do anything. He will come around though. He just needs some love and some good time in the book of mormon. Ill keep you updated on his progress. We gave him a baptisimal calender yesterday and i think that will really help him.
The next one is ANDREINA!!!! Oh man. SO we had a lesson with her monday. I guess first i should say that she came to church and sunday and had a lot of questions but really liked it. She is becoming friends with a lady in our ward that we bring with us to her lessons recently and that has been perfect for andreina. Just someone older that can relate more to her. Anyway, so we knew we needed to talk about baptism again with her and set a date. We prayed about the 17th and both felt good about it. So we go and teach a lesson. We used D and C and she LOVED it! haha. She was like can i buy that book?? Anyway, so the end of the lesson comes and im FREAKING out that i have to invite her to be baptized because in the lesson she said that she just likes to really research things before she will do them and really likes to take her time.... Anyway, i start talking about how we prayed about a date for her and i just started crying talking about how i knew this was right for her and heavenly father loves her so much and just wants to bless her. I felt so much love that our heavenly father feels for her and i just couldnt help but cry. I know she felt the spirit but was too scared to give a big YES! But she said that its something she will really try for and that she wants to try and be ready for. The key with her will be sorella silva. This lady we take.
Ok time for one more story and then i have to go. So right before we had our lesson with andreina, we had a lesson with this lady named Guisy. She is incredible. LIke 30 and so cute with a husband and a cute little 3 year old. Anyway, we havent seen her in like a month because she has been really busy with work and being out of town and sick. But FINALLY we saw her. SO we had planned to talk to her about the last half of the Gospel: Baptism, gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end. Well, we talk about baptism and she says, " I actually was thinking about baptism today!" SHe is telling us how she was thinking about it and thinking that it might be something she will never do even though basically she loves our church and knows its true because she would have to do it by herself. Her husband says she can take whatever road she wants and he will support her but doesnt have much interest right now. ANyway, we talked to her about praying to know what Heavenly father wants her to do. That Heavenly father has a plan for her and her family. She needs to be an example to her husband and once he sees how much this is changing her life and how happy she is he will follow. He is GREAT! Just needs a little more time. Anyway, i know she will be baptized too. Not sure exactly when but she is so ready!
ANyway, i have to go. But i love you all! Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes! Happy thanksgiving tomorrow! I hope that it is the best day! I am so grateful for a loving heavenly father. That he created this perfect plan so that we can return to live with him forever. Im so grateful for my family. That He loves me enough to bless me with such a wonderful family. and friends! And im grateful i can share this with these people i love her in Italy so they can enjoy these blessings too! Ill talk to you all next week! Also we got permission to skype on christmas so ill get you details later but be excited! Good christmas present! Thanks everyone! Vi voglio bene!!!! A dopo!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Thanks as always for your emails and your prayers! It really is such a blessing to hear from you all every week. Im glad everything seems to be going good. Busy but good! All is well in Ladispoli as well. i wanted to say really fast that if packages are coming for christmas you can just send them to the office. Around the christmas season i think it will be better. ANd on the customs form just write that its missionary supplies. Thats all for my annoucements i think. ummm.... Ok, im just going to dive into the week because really we saw tons of miracles and it was amazing.
So, last week i was pretty bummed, you could say. I just feel so much pressure being the older companion and literally no one would talk to us and my companion hated finding and it was just a bad situation. I really used it as a time to work on my faith. When we find, its hard yeah but there are people ready to hear the gospel where we are or we wouldnt be there. So i really worked on focusing on this faith that i needed to have to see miracles. To find people. And i prayed a lot!! We found some great people that we are really excited to teach. Tomorrow we have our first appointment with a guy we met on the street and his family. A couple years ago he had some accident and lost most of his vision. He said that during this time he lost his faith and belief that there is a God. But now is on his search to find Him again. He was totally willing to let us come over and share the book and plan that we have that brings us the peace and comfort we need in this life. Then i called to actually set up the appointment and he had told his wife about us and she was really excited for us to come over too. We have that appointment tomorrow, and with a member, and we are really excited!
Next, the casse miracle. Ok so we were doing finding. We had just talked to Alberto (guy from above) and were sooooo happy that we found someone who wanted to hear more. So the next guy we talk to is this old african man named Casse. He hardly speaks italian but said that he would want a book of mormon in french. We set up an appointment on sunday at 5 to bring it to him. Well, i wrote down his phone number but forgot to write down his house number. I had the street but not the number. So im asking him if i can see this paper that had his information on it again and he was like you already wrote my number down. I couldnt explain it because he doesnt understand italian really well and so we just left and decided we would call him when we got to the street. So i call and of course, his phone is off. I thought i remembered his house number being 127 so we went searching. The normal road ends at like 50 but continues up this little dirt road. So we decided we will keep looking. we Stop and take a picture out in the middle of nowhere with this french book of mormon in our hands, seriously so desperate to find him and then walk all the way up this dirt road. No sign of him so we turn back around and are just going to rind every house we can before our next appointment. So we are walking down and I see this other african guy at a door but i cant really see who it is.(Keep in mind there are like 4 houses on this street and the one that this guys is at is old and white and creepy and looks abandoned.) I have just a glimpse of hope and so i walked closer to look again. Ok Casse wasnt the guy that i saw originally but he came walking up the gate to open the gate for this other guy. And we happened to be walking by right as he was there opening the gate. IT WAS SUCH A MIRACLE!!!! He didnt let us teach him and honestly we were ok with that considering where we were but he accepted the book of mormon and a restoration pamphlet. Who knows what will happen with him but i can say that i know that he needed the book of mormon that day. We had been lost twice, taken a picture and then just at the right moment we were right where he was. It might seem small, but it was such a testimony to me that heavenly father is so involved in this work. He guides us and directs us even when it seems so small.
Ok, next. Lesson with Andreina. Ok, so we had a lesson with her last night. We took a member that is a little bit older and it was the best lesson! We talked about the plan of salvation. LIke always, she had tons of questions but understood it all. Sorella Silva is a convert and just said the perfect things. At the end i couldnt remember what invite we had planned to give her. and then, so strongly i felt like we needed to invite her to be baptized. I pushed it aside for like 5 seconds because we were going to be late to english course but then just had to do it. We hadnt planned a date or anything so i just invited her to pray about baptism and promised her heavenly father was waiting to give her soooo many blessings. She was BEAMING! ANd it was one of the most spiritual moments on my mission. Sorella silva said after that she just know andreina is so special and that she is going to be baptized. Im so excited for our next appointment with her! Pray that she comes to church this week!!!!! and that she receives an answer that really this is what she needs to do.
I have like no time left but i want to talk about monday too really quick. So we went and met with this lady that i had called from our area book. She came and met us and got hot chocolate with us and brought her cousin. SHe didnt remember anything about the missionaries and hadnt even ever seen the book of mormon. Anyway, we had a good lesson with them and they accepted the book of mormon and want to have us over for lunch to talk about the plan of salvation! They are soooo cute. Alessandra and Roberta. Both in their mid 30s. So we met with them and then went home really fast to get some brownies i made for our dinner appointment. We see our neighbor out in the hall. Turns out that he is a cook and cooks SO well. He isnt married so we told him we couldnt come in his house but gave us some food to take home and eat. Then yesterday we went to take brownies to than him and he ended up giving us some bread and stuff. So basically we have a little chef now. I just need to get his recipes because he cooks soooo well. He is like 70 and sooooo great. Then we went to see raffaela and her boyfriend for dinner. We have been praying that he will come around so they can get married and she can get baptized. She has a testimony of everything and is essentially a memeber without the baptism. Anyway, the miracle was that at the end, Carmine (the boyfriend) said the prayer! It was awesome! Anyway, lots of small miracles but we have felt so blessed this week!
Well, i love being a missionary. Its tiring but its the best! I love what i do and just talking to people and sharing what is so important to me. I love these people here. Italians are such a passionate and great people. Im excited for all of you to meet them. You will love them! And their food:) I really have to go but know that i love you all SO much. I miss you and pray for you. Thanks for all your support! Have a great week! Talk to you next week!
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Ok... first i need to say that my exclamation doesnt work on this keyboard and its really annoying but thats just how it is. How is everyone?? It sounds like everyone in my family had a busy, busy week last week and this week. Good luck with everything you have to do. Know that i have been and will be praying for you in all that you are doing. Work and school and everything. My week has been pretty stressful too... Just a lot of responsibility. But ill get to that in a minute. Thanks for all your emails and your prayers. Its been hard but i really can feel the Lord helping me. Im so grateful for that because literally this isnt something i can do alone.
My companions name is Sorella Miles. SHe is from Bountiful and this is the big thing. Her grandpa is elder nelson.. Yeah... Talk about pressure. She is super cute though and pretty young. Her parents are mission presidents and so she was able to leave early on her mission. Its been a lot better than i pictured it going in my head. First, she loves just trying to talk to people and its awesome. She will get the language fast just because she is so willing to try. And she wants to work hard. Im really excited for our transfer or transfers we will have together.
For me... its good but really hard work. Making sure that we have appointments scheduled that we understand everything, that lessons go well. Everything. Its a lot to do. But i really have felt the gift of tongues so strongly. I can get by in Italian, its not like i am really really struggling, but i wouldnt call myself one of the good speakers by any means. Its amazing though because i realy have been able to understand anything that is really important and have been able to say anything that needs to be said. Probably not perfectly but i dont really feel super hindered by the language. Its interesting though because when its not so necessary i really cant speak like i was in a lesson or something. These gifts are real. I know that. I know that what i am doing, i am not alone in it. THat heavenly father qualifies those whom he calls. That has been the biggest source of strength for me. Knowing that i can pray and that he listens. One other really hard thing has been finding. NOTHING we have tried has been working. I dont know what happened but i know Heavenly Father is trying to teach me something. Singing worked so great till sorella miles got here. I just feel so bad because she thinks we are totally wasting our time and i know she is frustrated with finding. Its hard work in Italy but I know that there are people that are ready and willing to listen. Thats where my faith really comes into play. We have some more ideas for finding that we got in our district meeting and im just praying and praying that it goes better. We did some calling of old investigators and have lots of appointments for the rest of this week though. Its going to get better we just had a couple rough days.
SUnday was awesome though. I really felt the spirit in church. That heavenly father loved me and was happy with where i am and the work that im doing. Exactly what i needed to feel in that moment because i really felt like i was failing. Then we had 2 really good lessons that night. One was with Andreina and i love her so much. And we are just ready to work hard this week.
As for our investigators. Andreina, she is the one that is 84, and she is seriously awesome. SHe has so many questions. They all have to do with the restoration and the plan of salvation. I know the other sisters have already taught her these things but we are going to start over and go slow so she really understands and can ask her questions. She has received a testimony of the book of mormon but just is too afraid to fully trust it. She is expecting something big that covers all her doubts. So that is our goal with her. To tell her that through the pray and meeting with us, her questions can and will be answered and that she will be ready to follow christ and be baptized. Raffaela is the one that is living with her boyfriend. SHe love the BOM and loves coming to church and everything but now told us that she doesnt know if she wants to be baptized or not. I could see the sadness in her eyes as she was telling us. I know that she wants to be baptized but her mom and boyfriend are standing in the way of her receiving the blessings. We are trying to go teach her more when her boyfriend is there and hopefully he will come around. he is realy nice and will listen to the lessons but for now doesnt want to do anything about it. He is great though and i think with time he really will want this. Cristian is our other investigator close to baptism. He tells us that he wants to be baptized but then doesnt do anything about it. He comes to church sometimes but comes super late. His actions just arent showing it at all. we are going to set a date with him and really explain that if he wants this, he needs to show the Lord that he is willing to sacrifice for it. Its just hard knowing what we can do to help these people. Especially with Raffaela and Cristian, they are at a point where free agency is going to have to be used. We cant really do anything else except love them and pray for them.
Other than that, i think thats about it. Training is hard but i really am loving being here. I love our ward and our investigators and all the people i get to talk to every day. I knew this wasnt going to be easy but its so worth it. Its so worth it to have 1000 people say no but then to see someone that really has a desire to know Christ and be a part of their journey. Thanks for all your support you show me as family and friends. I know that is one of my biggest blessings in my life. Ill talk to you all next week. I love you all more than you know. I miss you but i know this is where im supposed to be. I have lots of things to learn on my mission that i know will help me for the rest of my life. Have a good week-lot of exclamation marks.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Well the big news of the week is that im going to be training. I dont even know what to think about it or what to do. I feel so inadequate to do this but i guess that is where prayer and the atonement come in. President told me to take some deep breaths and that i would be fine. haha. I really cant believe this is happening. I hope i dont ruin her! That is mostly what im scared about. and the fact that i have only been here for 2 weeks and we are going to be lost every day. I had Sorella Foote tell me everything about Ladispoli and i have tried to write everything down. Deep breaths. Anyone have any advice for me?? I would love it. I am excited though. It will be an adventure every day. trying to get around and then once we get there trying to understand. Its so nice being the young one because if you dont understand you just turn everything over to your companion... I dont think that is going to be happening anymore. Anyway, tomorrow i'll go to the mission home to pick her up. I dont know who it is so its going to be a surprise. Mom, you need to stop guessing things because you are ALWAYS right and its always something so scary! Anyway, please keep me in your prayers this week. Sorella Foote has trained twice and she said she grew so close to our savior and really started understanding the atonement when she trained. Thats what I want to learn from this experience.
As for everything else, this week was great but really hard at the same time. Sorella Foote is going home and getting her all ready for classes and stuff was really hard. Then Sorella Heiner had a little break down and needed a blessing from president so we spent a couple hours at the mission home too. It was good though because sorella heiner is doing much better! Plus we just got to spend some time with president and sorella kelly. And they made lasagna for us. Just made for a strange week because i felt like a lot of them time we werent doing missionary work. All things that needed to get done but just was different. I also learned that i need to start the registering for classes and everything a lot earlier because sorella foote and sorella tutt had problems with their deferments. So i want to make sure mine is all good. Our president is really good about getting everything done though.
the ward had a halloween party! It was so fun and the ward is so awesome. The primary leaders all learned the thriller dance and performed it. So fun! They are a lot more americanized here close to rome than they are in Sicily. Its really crazy seeing the difference in the ward and the people.
Next, Francesca was WAY weaker this week. I think i told you this but she is an artist and usually she still can draw really well and everything. Not this week though. She had 0 energy and we are hoping that she will make it through next week at least. I want one more week with her. She gave me her favorite drawing pencil yesterday! So sweet!
And this week we are going to do some good old finding. Lots of it! We have some great investigators but they are now at the point that they need to decide what they want. They need to sacrifice a little and use their agency now. I really want to find a good family to teach. A mom and dad and kids. I never really have before and this is something i really want! I have been praying a lot for it. Our ward could use another good family too.
Other things about this week. Oh my. Yesterday we had a lunch and a dinner appointment. Let me just walk you through an italian meal so you all will feel bad for me and my stomach and my body yesterday and today. Well, first we started off with cheese and some bruschetta. Then they had some other little anti pasta things. Then they bring out a plate of lasagna. And when i say a plate. I literally mean a plate. It was HUGE and i wanted to die eating it. Then after we had pork chop things and sausage (sausage is huge here and i hate it). I couldnt eat all my sausage. then they gave us a huge slice of this cake type thing. I was dying. But then our dinner appointment was the same thing. it was actually the best meal i have had here and i was so sad i was so full because i didnt enjoy it as much. Sorella foote also said it was the best she has ever had and it is her last day tomorrow. But honestly while i was eating the pasta, after 3 bites, i was praying that i would be able to make it through without throwing up. We felt like we were on fear factor. And then to top it off, we have a lunch appointment in an hour! haha. Im going to die....
I think thats it for the week. I forgot my planner at home so i dont if i wrote anything else or not. Im going to try again and attach pictures. I want you so see my adventures. Mom, i will get my picture to you and send it next week. We dont have time to go to rome today. But i did walk through the vatican piazza the other day. SOOOOOOO many people holy cow! Well, wish me luck tomorrow. Im so excited to get to share my love of missionary work and italy with my new companion. I know what we are doing here is so important. I have so much to work on!! But i love what we get to do. To bear testimony to everyone about the gospel. that we can just stop people in the streets and its not weird because that is what we are called to do. Thanks for your support. I love my family and friends. Ill let you know how the first week of adventures go! LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU ALL!!!!
P.S. Congratulations Linds and Brycen! Im so excited to hear the story!!! LOVE YOU!!! Dont forget to tell me a single detail!